The Birthday Brunch. Part II

My 20 person birthday brunch: Gusto, on Greenwich Ave btwn 7th Ave & Perry St. (For the one-on-one birthday brunch Part I post, see here)

While I originally planned to rent half of the back section of Bread in SoHo, ultimately the price at Gusto was just impossible to beat. I wanted my friends to have more food and more booze for their money. Gusto has a $22 prix fixe which includes an Appetizer, an Entree, and Unlimited Mimosa’s and Bloodys. It was a no-brainer.

The other thing that sealed the deal was the fact that Gusto has a space in the back with 4 round tables and booths. (Booth’s make everything better don’t they?!) Fully packed, the space can fit 28 seated. It’s not a completely closed off space so you don’t feel isolated, but you do feel like you are there with your group primarily.

Gusto’s back section would also be great for a social or even a “networking” brunch where you would want a “stand-greet-cocktail” situation before you sit down. Going to Gusto for this year’s large group birthday brunch was just easy.

In summary, Gusto is: *Great prix fix deal, *Good option for birthday party group brunch, *Great back section for group events, *The banana bread pudding (PANE AFFOGATO vinsanto & cinnamon soaked Italian toast with caramelized bananas) rocks. *And, the Chocolate cake with butterscotch compote is a birthday girl’s dream.

I’m thinking of throwing a larger brunch party in Gusto’s back section since the space just works. It will be for BrunchCritic fans. Stay tuned.

Map & Photos: Gusto Ristorante e Bar Americano

The Birthday Brunch. Part I.

It’s true. I’ve turned another year older as of last weekend. The old adage may say I’ve turned “another year wiser,” but frankly I think I’m the anomaly if that’s true. Clearly I’m going to analyze this at the BrunchTable in the near future.

Anyways the point of this post is to share where I invited friends to join me in celebration. My birthday weekend consisted of two awesome brunches. One more intimate, and one more celebratory. Today’s brunch is about the former, Burger & Barrel. Sunday’s post will be about the latter.

Burger & Barrel (B & B), on Houston btwn Mercer & Greene.  I met an old friend who I hadn’t seen in ages at B & B. It is owned by the same team behind Lure Fishbar and Merc Bar, and I’ve been wanting to try it for a while. (Oh and I guess the proprietors have a thing for only owning places with “Bar” in the name…? Actually now that I think about it, “Brunch Bar” would be a cool name for a place…).

Anyways. The menu has multiple bloody Mary options beyond the classic vodka & tomato juice version. That always keeps things spicy, no pun intended. Everyone seated around us seemed to have at least one burger on the table, and it is probably because when the waiters walk by with it on a tray, your head turns and follows along, as everything somehow moves in slow motion.  It’s a big burger, and the bun is topped with two huge onion rings made steady by a toothpick. The best plate on the menu was the French Toast Sticks.  Excellent in flavor, but also great for sharing. If you are like me and always want both sweet and savory, ordering these are an ideal way to get that small “sweet,” without getting a larger dish and then the resulting sugar-coma.

The crowd is mixed, so is is a good choice for any type of party young or old. At the end of the day, this brunch was about having the opportunity to see a very dear, old friend. I was actually thrilled with my pick. It was the perfect atmosphere for our catch up.

In Summary, Burger & Barrel (B & B) is:

*A Good place for catching up with an old friend, *The crowd has a mix of people & ages,  *Has a notable Burger,  *Serves great French Toast Sticks, *Great for a group of 4, * and Has a fair number of baby strollers (which was fitting, since my friend is preggers).

I will be back to B & B next time I need a spot nearby the shopping in SoHo or when seeing a flick at the Angelika. It’s perfectly located next to both.

B & B photos and map: here

(For the one-on-one birthday brunch Part II post, see here)